Mar 26, 2008

Federal Court ruling muddies primary picture

U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds issued a ruling Wednesday afternoon that threw even more confusion and uncertainly into Michigan’s already muddled Presidential Primary election fiasco.

The ruling struck down as unconstitutional a provision in the law that would give the voter lists from the Jan 15 primary only to the two major political parts and to no others, saying it violated the First Amendment right of other parties to access and to report on information of public interest. The minor political parties had joined with the Metro Times and a political consulting firm to challenge the statute, saying it was illegal because it excluded everyone but the Republican and Democratic parties from accessing the list that should be public record.

The Hillary Clinton campaign quickly seized on the decision, and in a press release they called for Sen. Barack Obama to join her in calling for a new election.

“In the wake of today's court ruling regarding Michigan’s January 15th primary, we urge Senator Obama to join our call for a party-run primary and demonstrate his commitment to counting Michigan's votes,” said Clinton Campaign Manager Maggie Williams.

Mark Grebner, founder of Practical Political Consulting, was the plaintiff in a state lawsuit first filed in Ingham County Circuit Court challenging the provision. He eventually lost the state lawsuit in the Michigan Supreme Court on a split vote. Following that a separate group filed a new lawsuit in federal court. Grebner said the statute was aimed at companies like his East Lansing company that sells targeted political mailing lists.

“This suit was aimed at me personally,” he said. “It was aimed at my business.”

In a report in the Detroit Free Press, State Elections Director Chris Thomas said the state would not appeal the decision. Grebner said the Secretary of State has is treating the election like there was no election at all, based on the ruling.

“The Secretary of State issued a statement saying the election never took place, so she’s not giving out the list to anyone,” he said. “It seems like a bizarre idea to me.”

Spokespersons for the Republican and Democratic parties could not be reached for comment.

1 comment:

Tor Hershman said...

They're all just Hitler Dees and Hitler Dums to moi.